For years, Republicans have campaigned against "open borders" Democrats, prompting howls of outrage from their opponents, and tut-tutting fact checks from the media. End the lies. I actually happen to believe that too much fear-mongering and hyperbolic rhetoric has been employed over the course of our immigration debates on both sides, including among conservatives. Relatively modest policy differences were casually conflated with "open borders," and virtually any proposal opposed by border hawks was lumped in and denounced as as "amnesty." These were too often lazy and inaccurate characterizations that made serious discussions of difficult issues even more challenging -- especially when coupled with the Left's endless race-baiting and moral preening.
But we have now arrived at the point at which Democrats have decided to live down to those erstwhile exaggerations. Writing at the left-wing Mother Jones, Kevin Drum analyzes Elizabeth Warren's latest immigration plan (remember, we're supposed to take her seriously as a planner) and concludes that it's both (a) similar to other exceptionally permissive proposals from various 2020 contenders (e.g. Castro), and (b) effectively indistinguishable from "open borders:"
“I have to admit that it’s hard to see much daylight between Warren’s plan and de facto open borders.” https://t.co/tdUoGuNevc— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 15, 2019
As near as I can tell, [Warren's plan] recommends no actions to improve border law enforcement in any way. There’s nothing about either a wall or a “virtual wall.” There’s nothing about E-Verify. There’s nothing about “smarter” or “more efficient” enforcement. No one will ever be deported—except, presumably, for serious felons, though Warren doesn’t even say that explicitly. Expedited removal will be ended. The Border Patrol will be reshaped from “top to bottom,” and will focus their efforts on “homeland security efforts like screening cargo, identifying counterfeit goods, and preventing smuggling and trafficking.” The whole thing is very similar to Julian Castro’s plan...
I have previously criticized Republicans who accused liberals of wanting “open borders.” President Trump tweets about this endlessly. But I have to admit that it’s hard to see much daylight between Warren’s plan and de facto open borders. As near as I can tell, CBP will be retasked away from patrolling the border looking for illegal crossings; if border officers happen to apprehend someone, they’ll be released almost immediately; if they bother to show up for their court date, they’ll have a lawyer appointed for them; and employers will have no particular reason to fear giving them a job. Am I missing something here? [Or] does Warren’s plan explicitly make it vanishingly unlikely that anyone crossing our border will ever be caught and sent back?
No, he's not missing anything. The base of the Democratic Party has shifted radically toward favoring an open borders regime -- and they've done so, astoundingly, amid an acute and ongoing border crisis fueled by insufficient existing enforcement and dysfunctionally lenient asylum laws. Relatedly, consider the cartoonish hand-wringing over the Trump administration's announced ICE raids designed to deport illegal immigrants who have received final removal notices. This is neither cruel nor unusual. It is a sovereign country enforcing its laws against unlawful entrants, many of whom have exhausted their legal options and have been formally determined not to have a right to be here. Cutting through the ridiculous hysteria is President Obama's former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson:
Obama-Biden DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson: "Deportations occur all the time. ... We simply have to enforce the law, particularly if someone has been ordered deported. ... Enforcement actions themselves are not extraordinary." pic.twitter.com/fv1ZCLPbNt— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) July 12, 2019
Sec. Johnson has also criticized Democrats' calls for decriminalizing illegal immigration, calling it -- and here's that phrase again -- "tantamount to open borders:"
Others in the party are urging caution, saying the push toward decriminalization risks playing into Trump’s hands. “That is tantamount to declaring publicly that we have open borders,” said Jeh Johnson, who ran the Department of Homeland Security during President Barack Obama’s second term. “That is unworkable, unwise and does not have the support of a majority of American people or the Congress, and if we had such a policy, instead of 100,000 apprehensions a month, it will be multiples of that.”
Although under Warren's "plan," perhaps there wouldn't be hundreds of thousands of apprehensions because...there wouldn't be apprehensions. The idea seems to be to simply let most people in to stay, with light if any enforcement, and hope for the best. Enjoy, smugglers, traffickers, and cartels. It's astonishingly irresponsible and extreme. Former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan joined me on the radio on Monday and applauded Johnson's honesty and leadership while warning of the dire consequences of decriminalization. He also called the broad-brush smearing of ICE and Border Patrol "demoralizing." That demonization manifested itself in a very frightening incident in Washington State over the weekend, in which an avowed member of Antifa laid siege to a detention facility. Armed with a rifle, the assailant attempted a firebombing before being shot dead by officers.
One wonders if 'the Squad' feels any responsibility for this instance of domestic terrorism, which resulted in the loss of human life. After all, they're the ones who routinely claim that harsh criticism is "incitement" that puts people in physical peril -- when they are the targets of the criticism, that is. Under their own demagogic standards and logic, which I do not share, their rhetorical attacks on ICE and border agents (including appalling Holocaust comparisons), they must be held to account for inciting this violence, and must immediately stop talking about these issues in such a 'dangerous' way. I'm sure they'll be perfectly consistent on this point. Finally, in light of the Trump campaign's desire to paint the Left as open borders zealots who are aiding and abetting a foreign 'invasion' from people who do not respect our national sovereignty, I'm not sure the Stephen Miller himself could have staged a more effective ad on behalf of the president than this scene out of Colorado:
Anti-ICE protesters rip American flag off flag pole, raise Mexican flag at ICE facility in Aurora, Colorado pic.twitter.com/CyQKUVNKMc— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 13, 2019
Have any of the Democrats running for president condemned this display? What about the Antifa assault? The latter has barely broken through at all as a major story. And yet, I seem to recall quite a lot of coverage when a right-wing lunatic attempted to bomb a number of the president's targets of ire. I'm sure it's just another honest oversight by our assiduously unbiased news media.